Saving money when you have a family to raise can be hard. But there are ways to reduce the family budget so that you can stash your cash in a savings account instead. Here are 10 tips on living a more frugal family lifestyle:
1. Entertain the little ones for free
Whether it’s trips to the beach, the park or your community pool – there are plenty of activities that don’t cost a dirham. Finding things to do, as a family, that don’t cost is important if you want to stay busy and solvent at the same time.
2. Deals, deals, deals
There are hundreds of two-for-one deals or kids-go-free offers to be had, whether in a voucher book such as The Entertainer or online via deal-sharing websites or directly with restaurants or retail outlets. If there is something particular you want to do with the family, find the right deal and then save at the same time that you have fun.
3. Buy second-hand
Children’s clothes and toys can be redundant within months of you buying them so why not try second-hand. With Dubizzle, flea markets and the second-hand uniform shop at school, there are plenty of savings to be made if you shop around. And because we live in a very transient society, many of the items you pick up will be barely used.
4. Sign up for the school bus
If you can’t pick your kids up from school, rather than sending them in a taxi or hiring a driver, sign up for the school bus. A term of AED50 taxi rides each way to school can add up to AED5,000 a term. Swap it for the bus service, which also delivers door to door, and you will save at least AED2,000.
5. Leave the kids at home when you grocery shop
Taking the children to the supermarket may seem like a fun activity, but once they have nagged you for some treats, a milkshake, their favourite biscuits, magazines and so on, you may find your bill is much dearer than you expected. Leaving kids at home as the potential to save you hundreds on your weekly shopping bill.
6. Have a garage sale
Families accumulate a lot of stuff and while you can sell individual items online or to friends, why not gather together all your unwanted junk and sell it on. Remember one person’s junk is another person’s treasure.
7. Eat in
Cooking big portions for the whole family at home is a great way to reduce food bills. Not only is it cheaper than eating out, but by eating the same thing and ensuring there is enough left over for everybody’s lunch box the next day – you will make a huge saving.
8. Host your own birthday party
Booking a party centre may reduce the stress of organising your child’s birthday bash but it won’t reduce the stress on your finances. By organising your own games, baking your own cakes and party food and putting together your own party favours, you can dramatically reduce the bill.
9. Bargain hunt
Shop in the sales and buy two of everything – one for your child at the age they are that day and one for the next size up. If there is a particular colour, or brand they love, stock up when they are cheaper.
10. Switch your supermarket
While shopping at your nearest, luxury supermarket might suit you, picking a no-frills budget option such as LuLu, Union Coop or Carrefour means you can stock up on the essentials and get more for less. Our team at Souqalmal.com did a tour of supermarkets and figured out that their basket of basics could be as high as 3 times more expensive from one supermarket to another !